AN international artiste,
Peter Badejo, has appealed to
the Federal Government to
institutionalise and invest in the
arts sector for the benefits of the
country and stakeholders in the
industry.
Badejo, an Officer of the Order of
the British Empire (OBE) told the
news Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in
Lagos an event commemorating
his 70th birthday that such an
investment would complement
meaningful development of the
country.
NAN reports that the Platinum
Jubilee programme titled:
“Shades of Dance’’, was organised
by some artistes at the Freedom
Park, Lagos.
Badejo, the cultural and dance
ambassador for Africa, said that
government had to invest in arts
and artistes themselves.
“The investment has to be total
and not a matter of trying”, he
said.
He said the government should
develop and follow-up on three
aspects of the sector for it to have
a proper foundation.
“First, the government has
to identify and recognise the
available talents; secondly, it
has to develop them and thirdly,
government has to invest in the
arts sector.
“The sector is not like rice that
can be harvested from the farm,
polished and sell. Even when
rice is polished, its products are
usually well packaged for it to
attract good price.
“So, the sector needs to
be developed; it needs to be
supported and we need to invest

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in arts and artistes for it to be
meaningful and bring gains to the
country,’’ he said.
The dance ambassador said that
the public should show special
interest in the sector to appreciate
what it could contribute to
national development.
He said that it was only those
that were connected to the
sector that really understood its
importance.
“Until you value what you
have, I do not think you can make
any sense out of it.
“That is why the government
and people in government should
recognize it through holistic
investment,’’ he said.
Badejo said he counted himself
lucky to have attained 70 years.
“I have to give gratitude to God
in this profession that I am in, the
arts profession, and specifically,
dance.
“I have so many brothers, sisters
and friends in the business, who
have flair for the arts and who
respect me.
“We share one love and that is
why today was made possible,’’
he said.
“We did one in Osogbo, Osun,
where artistes from Oyo and
some other places came together
to honour me.
“Then, this Lagos one is
amazing: the preparation and the
main event featuring different
artistes, as well as non- artistes
coming together to honour me.
“People just come to celebrate
life with me,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Badejo studied
dance as the postgraduate level at

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the University of California, LosAngeles.
He is one of Nigeria’s
foremost choreographers,
dancers and one of Africa’s
performance specialists.
After Badejo’s meritorious
career in Nigeria and in the
United States as a performer,
director, teacher and academic,
he relocated to Britain in 1990.
In 2013, at Finsbury Town
Hall, London, the Association
of Dance from the African
Diaspora (ADAD) awarded
Badejo a Lifetime Achievement
accolade for his contribution to
the development of the practice
of dance of the Africans in the
Diaspora in the UK.
Badejo’s area of specialization
has been at the leading
edge of the contemporary
African cultural performance,
transmitting and transforming
the African dance and traditions
through the use of the Yoruba
Bata dance style. (NAN)

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